UK bus manufacturer, Wrightbus has partnered with Australian bus body manufacturer, Volgren to supply hydrogen fuel cell powertrain technology for two hydrogen single decker trial buses that will be zero-emission at the tailpipe.
Wrightbus leaders anticipate that the partnership with Volgren could open up a significant export market, as Australia plans to replace tens of thousands of buses with zero-emission vehicles over the next decade. The deal has consequently been praised by the UK government’s Department for International Trade, which provided Wrightbus with assistance to break into the Australian market.
“As the UK’s leading bus manufacturer with world-leading products, we’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Australia’s number one bus body builder in Volgren. This is the first time we’ve exported our powertrain technology to a bus body manufacturer, the first time we’ve entered the Australian market as a business, and the hydrogen buses will be the first of their kind to be built in Australia so this is a significant deal for everyone involved. We know from our extensive experience the significant part hydrogen can play in the decarbonisation of public transport and we believe the scope for uptake across the Australian market is huge as the country makes the vital switch to zero-emission vehicles.”
The new vehicles will be powered by Wrightbus NexGen hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, which will be built in the Wrightbus Ballymena factory. They will leverage the same technology that powers Wrightbuses’s zero-emission StreetDeck Hydroliner double deck and GB Kite Hydroliner single deck buses.
The Wrightbus-Volgren buses are expected to be ready for the Australian trial at the start of 2023.
“We believe that Hydrogen has an important place in Australia and Wrightbus is one of the most important global players in hydrogen buses. We are confident the partnership will help speed up the deployment of hydrogen buses in Australia. Wrightbus builds bodies for their products in the UK and Europe. In fact, they use similar body technology to Volgren, namely bolted extruded aluminium profiles. This shared expertise and understanding is one of the many aspects of the partnership that we think will make it a success.”
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